Jesus does seem to be ‘going with the flow’ at this point in his ministry, doesn’t he? We tend to think of this as the moment, in contrast to the later story when the crowds will call for his crucifixion, when Jesus has the mass of people in Jerusalem on his side. Whether these are the same crowds in each story, or whether the palm-waving procession was made up of people who were already on Jesus’ side, doesn’t really matter. This is a moment to be relished!
The story reminds us that sometimes we can find our discipleship of Jesus ‘goes with the flow’. We can find ourselves in win-win situations when our agenda overlaps conveniently with that of the wider world. Alleluia for those moments!
It is not always like this, of course – and there is no greater reminder than the passion story which follows on from Palm Sunday. It is good to remember that the crowds who greet Jesus don’t shout ‘Alleluia’, but ‘Hosanna’ – which means ‘God save us’. God save us, indeed, from believing that our life with Christ will always permit us to enjoy the thrill and delight of going with the flow.
As they approached Jerusalem, near the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, they came to the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of his disciples on ahead 2 with these instructions: “Go to the village there ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a colt tied up that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 And if someone asks you why you are doing that, tell him that the Master1 needs it and will send it back at once.”
4 So they went and found a colt out in the street, tied to the door of a house. As they were untying it, 5 some of the bystanders asked them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?”
6 They answered just as Jesus had told them, and the bystanders let them go. 7 They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks over the animal, and Jesus got on. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches in the fields and spread them on the road. 9 The people who were in front and those who followed behind began to shout, “Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 God bless the coming kingdom of King David, our father! Praise God!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem, went into the Temple, and looked round at everything. But since it was already late in the day, he went out to Bethany with the twelve disciples.